On the knowledge trail

The importance of knowledge to success in specific industries was made clear by Peter Drucker in the 1970s, when he first wrote about “knowledge workers” and their importance to the economy.

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The importance of knowledge to success in specific industries was made clear by Peter Drucker in the 1970s, when he first wrote about “knowledge workers” and their importance to the economy. Drucker (1909-2005) was a management thinker who saw global patterns and could ask concise questions that would uncover larger issues. His knowledge workers are now a well-recognized and thoroughly integrated class of worker in the 21st century economy.

In the world of machine vision, knowledge workers range from producers of cameras, frame grabbers, and industrial automation products, to integrators of machine-vision systems, to those developing the software that forms the basis of these systems. Knowledge of physics, technology, products, business practices, and global trends are what keep us personally engaged, productive, and employed.

Exploring and expanding this knowledge of machine vision is the goal of Vision Systems Design. Find out in this issue, for example, how shift/tilt lenses can be used to correct perspective distortion when the camera is not horizontal to the image plane. As editor Andy Wilson discovered when writing our Product Focus article, the 100-year-old optical principle behind the shift/tilt lens can be an important tool for viewing objects at an angle in the design of machine-vision systems.

Region-of-interest processing also offers significantly different benefits depending on whether a CCD or CMOS sensor or a frame grabber is used. As Mark Butler of DALSA explains, the differences affect the rate at which raw data are fed into an image-processing system, influencing performance and the type of information captured.

INQUIRING MINDS

In many cases, answers about machine vision are driven by what the end user wants to accomplish and how system integrators can use OEM products to address the needs of their customers. Several features in this issue provide answers to how specific problems have been solved.

In our cover story, engineers at Industrial Vision Systems teamed FireWire cameras, off-the-shelf software, and ultraviolet lamps to inspect printed-circuit-board coatings. At 3DX-Ray, a custom, modular x-ray imaging system has been developed for on-line inspection using a combination of x-ray sources, detectors, and computer peripherals. At SurvUs, another vision-based system is being used to dice semiconductor wafers.

To see such machine-vision applications in action often requires a visit to an industry trade show such as Automatica (May 16-19 in the New Munich Trade Fair Centre). This year, in addition to the many vendors of assembly and handling, robotics, and machine-vision products, you will find the “Automatica Bar.” Students from the University of Applied Sciences Technikum of Vienna are using robotics and vision to deliver cocktails to weary showgoers. You may not be in need of a drink, but your next integrated system must provide just the mixture of inspiration and information that a knowledge worker needs.

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W. Conard Holton
Editor in Chief
cholton@pennwell.com

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